Essential Leadership Skills on Facilitation and Negotiation

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Amidst the pandemic, leaders are forced to manage their teams in-person and virtually. The phenomenon of moving to virtual and hybrid teams–and then guiding employees through an international pandemic–has surfaced the need to manage with empathy, authenticity, and engagement. The traditional “command and control” is no longer tolerable. Leaders must engage and build participative communities.  Having to work from home for two years, professional employees have gained a voice in how they wish to be treated and led. Managers who still try to boss employees around are watching their workforce walk out the door. 

On today’s podcast episode, we interview Adam Kahane who is the author of Facilitating Breakthrough: How to Remove Obstacles, Bridge Differences, and Move Forward Together. Today’s topics are locked-in on the importance of facilitation and negotiation. These are two core leadership skills that keep employees engaged, and help maintain equitable contribution and connection.

What Adam Learned Over the Past 2 Years

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adam saw a lot of people moving into fear and defensiveness. People often tense up and tighten up in times of crises. Adam, however, realized that the crisis also enabled new opportunities. Things that were impossible before became a necessity. For example, COVID-19 made hybrid work and virtual meetings possible. A two-sided surprise that the crisis had manufactured.

Are People Emboldened by Fear Today?

People cannot succumb to fear forever. Throughout COVID-19, people took control and innovated new ways of working. They were able to take stock, review their careers, and redefine work. This empowered them to take charge of their lives. Now people are learning how to say “NO” and make more informed decisions about how and when they want to work.  Because of this phenomenon, popularly known as the Great Resignation, employees now have influence over  work arrangements and leaders are needing to learn and apply stronger facilitation and negotiation skills. 

Qualities of a Good Facilitator

According to Adam, facilitation is a way of leading and it can be applied both in-person and virtually. To start facilitation, it is vital for leaders to know what drives their team members. Generally, employees are driven to do three things: contribute their ideas and gifts, connect with others, and contribute and connect equitably. As facilitators, leaders  must remove the obstacles that are blocking these three actions. Such changes create an inclusive and motivated environment where employees wish to stay, add value, and grow together. 

Negotiation 101 with Adam

Teams can still function and work together as one even if there are differences among members. This is where negotiation and joint problem solving come in. According to Adam, this can work successfully when everyone takes the time to understand. Below are some questions that can lead to high-level cooperation, not just compromise: 

  • How do different people see the situation?
  • Where are they coming from?
  • What do they mean when they say A, B, and C?
  • How can we reach agreements that meet as many needs as possible?

There are no shortcuts to negotiation. Adam advises that a mix of formats should be used to work things out: in person, virtual, and hybrid. In this way, all preferred styles can be accommodated. 

Who is Adam Kahane?

Adam Kahane is a Director of Reos Partners, an international social enterprise that helps people move forward together on their most important and intractable issues. He is a leading organizer, designer and facilitator of processes through which business, government, and civil society leaders can work together to address such challenges.

He was named “Social Innovator of the Year” by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and is the author of Solving Tough Problems, Power and Love, Transformative Scenario Planning, Collaborating with the Enemy, and Facilitating Breakthrough. 

To learn more about Facilitation and Negotiation download this episode now.

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Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

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How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

Facilitation and Negotiation Quotes

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